From Neon to Public Bath Houses to Anime Characters to Castles and Dancing

Wow, Okinawa. Guam was nothing of a culture shock compared to here. The neon, the crazy Japanese-ness, the language… its fairly overwhelming. I keep wanting to speak Chinese because I know more than I do in Japanese (3 words), and my brain keeps thinking that I`m in Asia, therefore I should be able to speak Chinese. Right?!?
A major highlight has been finding the public bathhouse. Yes, that is right, a place where you get naked and walk around to various jet pools, showers, saunas, and salt exfoliating rooms (men and women separate!). For a bunch of shower-deprived sailors, it is heaven. Seriously, I can pay $10 and sit as long as I want there. I plan on going back tonight… Once you get over the initial awkwardness, it is quite fun. One of the trainees I was there with ended up having her back scrubbed down by an elderly Japanese lady. It was quite funny.
Here are some of the sights of Okinawa:

Neon, neon, and more neon…
Tall buildings?!? What are those?
The monorail we took yesterday to get to the castle. Public transport like this is such a joy and novelty for us!
They like pigs here. And they like plywood cutouts. So does Elske.
And the English translations are always a source of much humour!

Shurijo Castle, built 1500s (ish) for a dynasty that paid tribute to China – traditionally Okinawa is much closer to China than Japan. Much of the architecture is Chinese, though not as ornate as the Forbidden City.


It was raining… I now own an umbrella.


We happened upon live traditional dancing while we were there. They only do a few performances a week and only one of those includes live music (men playing three stringed instruments of an unidentified name) – and we managed to get there for it without even trying!




Thats it for Okinawa. We`re off to Shanghai tomorrow… next stop, Chinese New Year!

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